Thursday, December 13, 2012

Goals for 2013

Looking back on 2012, Dog Mob and I achieved all the goals we'd set for ourselves, and then some.

Pongu didn't title in freestyle... but that was because we switched our primary sport to Rally Obedience, so he had to learn a whole new system of rules and exercises, and within a few months of picking that up, he started trialing and soon earned his RL1 title with an Award of Excellence.

Crookytail wasn't on the goal list for 2012, because he wasn't even here yet, but he joined Dog Mob and promptly turned his skills to helping 11 foster dogs learn to live safely and happily with people in the big city. He also went from zero to titled, picking up his RL1 in Rally Obedience this year.

The Temporary Dogs numbered 12 in all. Eleven of those dogs went on to wonderful, loving homes; sadly, we lost puppy Erin to parvovirus.

We're still in contact with many of the other former Temporary Dogs' families, and it is incredibly rewarding to see their happy faces and grand adventures as they go on in their new lives.

So, for next year, here are our goals:

With Pongu, I hope to earn a RL2, RL1X, and ARCH. If we're lucky and I can afford an ambitious trialing schedule, we might go as far as the RL3, which would put us in a great position to make 2014 the Year of Rally Championships. Also, I'm gunning for an Award of Excellence at both Level 2 and Level 3 -- he did it at Level 1, which was the hardest for a crazypants scaredymutt because it was his first time in the ring, so why not at the more advanced levels too?

Regardless of how far we actually get, we'll continue trialing in APDT Rally.

I'd also like to go back to WCFO musical freestyle with Pongu. We switched sports because I just didn't feel like I knew what I was doing in freestyle; now that I have more confidence and slightly more of a clue, it might be time to try it again. We'll have to rely on video competitions, which will be an adventure in itself, but I think it should be possible for us to get a beginner or novice title next year.

With Crookytail and Pongu both, I plan to take the Canine Good Citizen test early next year. For a long time, the CGC test was beyond what I believed Pongu could do; he was just too fearful to handle being approached by a stranger or left alone with me out of sight.

I think Pongu can handle it now, though, and I don't expect the CGC test to be particularly difficult for Crookytail. The test is more about the dog's stability than learned behaviors (the amount of formal training required to pass a CGC evaluation is really very little), and Crooky has never really had a problem with staying level-headed. So we'll knock that out early in the spring, whenever it's next offered around here, and let Dog Mob add a few more letters to their names.

On the foster front, the goal is to have five or six Temporary Dogs pass through here in 2013. My schedule may end up being pretty full of other things next year (particularly if I spend a lot of time trialing with Pongu), so we may have to step that back from what we did this year -- but as helping with fosters is Crookytail's primary job and I want him to have a chance to excel at his work too, we won't drop it entirely.

We may end up doing a little more or less than that, but right now one foster dog every other month seems like a manageable rate, so that's the goal I'm setting for next year. Whoooo!!

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